How to Maximize the “College from Home” Experience

Did I order violet-colored masks to go with all my NYU gear? Yes, yes, I did.

Student holding up a framed photograph of his family while wearing a mask.

Let’s face it—we’ve all had to experience Zoom for way longer than we anticipated. Whether for school, work, or even to see your grandparents who live down the block, telecommunication will be here to stay! Since March of last year, all NYU operations have been online, switching to remote learning and teaching. So, especially if you’re either preparing for college or in the middle of it, it’s important to have these CFH (college from home) tips in your back pocket to ensure a successful semester and academic year.

Tip No. 1: Make Your Work Space a Genuine Place You Want to Be

There are so many times when I want nothing more than to wake up and log on to my 9:30 a.m. Research Methods lecture in the comfort of bed. However, itʼs important to establish a place to “go to school” and a place for everything else. If youʼre living in residential life, each room comes with a desk, which is where I typically do my work.

Before school started, I made sure to “spruce” it up. On my desk, I created a mood board with all my favorite quotes, role models, and other pictures that made me smile. I also made sure to invest in ergonomic tech products, including a laptop stand, a wireless keyboard, and a tablet. College from home means making that “home” (whether you have a desk at home or a section of the dinner table) a safe haven where you can feel productive and inspired. Hereʼs a photo of what my workstation looks like at any given moment:

A studentʼs desk, featuring a water bottle, a laptop, a keyboard, a tablet, and a mouse.
Blue is my favorite color, and it is also the color of security, which is why my “college from home” set up is full of blue. Iʼm currently manifesting a year of personal security AND cybersecurity.

Tip No. 2: Treat the School Day as Any Normal Day

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have class all day. While it may seem easy to push through an entire day of online learning without any breaks, I always feel fatigued. Take the extra effort to eat three meals a day, have water and snacks at your desk, and take the occasional stroll. Your body will thank you!

A couple days ago, it was snowing, so my roommates and I made sure to disconnect and check it out. It was the most snow Iʼve ever seen!

Three masked NYU students in the snow in Washington Square Park.
Right outside the frame, NYU students were having a casual snowball fight!

Tip No. 3: Utilize University Resources

While college from home may seem isolating, it doesnʼt have to be. Your professors and advisers are still there to ensure your success—even if you arenʼt able to see them in person. Office hours are now one Zoom link away! Here are some of my favorite campus resources that have now transitioned to providing services online:

The Moses Center for Student Accessibility

Even online, the Moses Center for Student Accessibility allows students to see an accessibility specialist, who will answer any questions regarding online accommodations and instruction. To request a remote meeting, email mosescsa@nyu.edu and an accessibility specialist will reach out to you with a Zoom link!

NYUʼs Neighborhood Study Spaces

Scattered throughout campus and in cafes around the city, NYU provides students with study spots that are socially distanced. I was able to spend an entire day at Bobst right before exams season! There are two ways that youʼre able to secure a space: by making an appointment through NYUʼs mobile app or by walking in.

Tip No. 4: Give Yourself Grace

These times are tough, and in order to overcome them, you have to be honest with yourself. Check in with friends and also with your emotions! Not every day will be easy, and there will be times where your greatest achievement is getting out of bed. And thatʼs reason to celebrate!

Now more than ever, prioritize self care and the establishment of boundaries. Sleep in if you need to, and call your loved ones. There is light at the end of the tunnel!